Monday, June 22, 2009

Brooklyn Invitational

Well once again it has been awhile between posts and I have let down whatever fair readers that I may have. Quite a bit has gone down in the past two weeks if you haven't noticed and believe me it has. Let's touch on a few: The Lakers win the Finals giving Kobe his 4th ring and putting him into another level on the all-time player list, the Penguins win the Stanley Cup giving hockey a great boost going in to next season, Nadal loses at the French and Federer ties Sampras for the majors record - not sure if this is a good thing, Conan begins hosting the Tonight Show and unleashing the comic mastery that is the Twitter Tracker and the Dana Carvey Show came out on DVD after 13 years of long waiting.

The biggest item to go on for me in the past two weeks was The Brooklyn Invitational, an event I put on with my friend down in DUMBO. This event featured six bands and several artists showcasing their work at a great space down in DUMBO. There is not a lot going on there as far as nightlife, but there are a lot of gallerys and spaces that can be used to put on some great events, especially large-scale music shows and festivals. There will be more photos up from the event and we will be planning to do another one later on this summer and I will be posting information here or on a parallel blog that you will most likely be able to find.

Now, upcoming: post on Kobe, post on upcoming Mad Men season, post on some album or band that I feel especially compelled about (Grizzly Bear?). But now, here is the next entry in "From Here to the Last Mound of Dirt."


The rain has let up and I’m standing outside wearing my raincoat hood over my head. The afternoon is cool and it still smells like summer. The water in the pool has risen high, almost to the top of the rock ledges. I had to come outside to think. I suppose I could’ve just gone to my room and not given myself away by walking past Tom and dad like I did. But I did keep my calm in front of Eve when she told me about the secret I didn’t know. Why did it have to come from her? I love her but she’s not in my family. She is, but she really isn’t. She isn’t the same as all of us.

How is that your vision of your family changes? So many things are always supposed to change, friends, seasons, opinions, favorite ice cream, and even sex. The way you see your family isn’t. It does, though. First you know your mother and father because you need them. Then you know the number of people in your family because you know your brothers and sister. That stays for a while through car rides and fights and sharing bathrooms and dinner and getting rides places. Then everyone gets older – the secrets start coming out. You find out that your father is a good man but he has a past that is deeply flawed, and that’s OK because you find out that everyone does. And being the youngest you get to hear it all, hear all of the problems and the stories of your brothers and sister, the problems and bad things they’ve done. There is nothing of the original picture of family left. What keeps all of that together in a shape? How are you supposed to see it all when you get older?

“Liza, what are you doing in the rain?” Tom’s voice says.

I turn around and see him walking out the door.

“Oh, it isn’t raining anymore,” he says.


He shuffles out and stretches his arms. I think he always liked weather like this. It would make sense because it sort of fits his demeanor. He is all kinds of rain and grey but he is also warm. He walks up to me by the pool with his hands in his pockets. His hair is wet and a bit blackish rather than reddish brown. Is he drunk?

“Well what are you doing out here anyway?”

“Just thinking.”

Tom spreads his legs apart and looks down at his shoes. They’re a nice pair of brown loafers; they seem comfortable. He was the neatest of us for sure. He and James were both neat, although James was always bounding around to a practice or running out with his friends could leave messes and things on the floor. Mom never came down so hard on him. Maybe it was because he took on so much. Tom’s shoes look comfortable but he looks messier than usual.

“There’s a lot to think about, huh?” He puts his hand on my jacket shoulder.

I pull my hood off my head and shake my hair. I look up at his face. He is looking forward, but he senses me and so his eyes drift down to me.

“Tom,” I ask. “What are you doing always riding the trains?”

He takes his hand off my shoulder and puts it back in his right pocket. He scuffs his shoes on the wet stones.

“There’s something about it. Something about that moment of travel, even though I’ll always bounce back from the city out here, when the train is moving I feel good. Having a beer and riding a train. Its very simple in a way.”

I nod my head. He’s very stern now thinking about it. I decide to put my hand up on his shoulder. “You could’ve asked me to come to mass.”

He turns down at me. “Don’t you ever think about anything simple?”

I don’t know what he means by that. He seems really curious, though. He wants to know. There are a lot of simple things in the world I guess. I mean don’t they say that you can break down the whole earth and the universe into different math formulas? Those formulas might be tough to understand but numbers are a lot simpler than stars and atmospheres and endless space. I don’t think I’m supposed to find joy in riding a train and drinking a beer. That doesn’t make sense to me. I want to jump into the excitement of the night at school. But then isn’t simple staying with mom, not leaving her alone. Not killing her.

“Are you drunk, Tom?”

He raises an eyebrow. “No.”

“You’re not like dad are you?”

“Don’t you love dad despite this? Don’t you understand?”

“Yeah I do.”

“No, I’m not like dad.”

He hugs me and I can smell beer. His clothes are wet too but he smells like church and faint cologne. The type that most boys smell like. Musk is what it’s called. Maybe this is what happens to family. We fall apart and bring it back together again. But we aren’t so bad. This is just what we’re changing into.

“I love you,” I say to Tom.

“Thank you.”

I open my eyes and over his shoulder, I can see dad standing in the doorway looking out at us and cradling his bottle to his stomach.

In the rain, I walk over to dad and his motorcycle. He put his glass down on the sopping sod and mud.

“Want to ride?”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

He regards the motorcycle for a moment. The rainwater is streaming down his nose and over his lips.

“You were so close with your mother. You know she’d never let you ride.”

“But why didn’t anyone tell me?”

He looks past me. I turn around and look at the open hole in the ground where the mourners are standing stiff like cardboard. I don’t even recognize any of them. The hole is filling with water. I hope mom won’t drown. She’s not a fish.

“It wasn’t up to us.”

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